The Titans season 2 premiere introduced Iain Glen as Bruce Wayne – and it’s safe to say he was something of a disappointment. The first season of Titans indulged in a strange sort of Justice League fan service, name-dropping major DC characters such as Wonder Woman, Batman, and even the Justice League itself.
All that has changed in the Titans season 2 premiere, which unveiled Game of Thrones veteran Iain Glen as an older Bruce Wayne. Dick Grayson’s encounter with Trigon meant he had confronted and even defeated his own inner darkness; as a result, he was able to assess Batman’s influence on his life through a slightly less cynical lens. The Titans season 2 premiere effectively contained a moment of reconciliation between Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. It was a far cry from season 1, which treated the shadow of the Batman as something of an antagonistic force in its own right. Which frankly makes it a shame that Titans‘ Bruce Wayne was such a disappointment.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
The problems begin with the accent; Iain Glen just doesn’t quite sound American, and that immediately made his portrayal jarring. Worse still, his affectations didn’t quite match with the character’s overall arc. Titans is using the commonly expected endgame for an older Batman, a wealthy and isolated man who’s devoted so much of his life to being the Dark Knight that he’s forgotten how to relate to people. And yet, Glen’s Bruce Wayne has more than a hint of warmth to him, and doesn’t seem anywhere near so emotionally repressed and distant as the narrative arc implied. He was basically Jorah Mormont with an attempt at an American accent, which wasn’t really a good fit for the Titans story.
It’s possible that there’s a sense in which Iain Glen’s Bruce Wayne represents Titans as a show. The first season struggled to find its feet, indulging in a dark and violent aesthetic that was neatly summed up in Robin’s introduction, where he brutally took down some thugs and famously declared “F*** Batman.” The Titans season 2 premiere had something of a tonal shift, moving away from the grimdark style once it had disposed of Trigon, and attempting to generate a youthful sense of exuberance. With the show’s tone changing so completely, it looks as though Titans has moved away from its initial interpretation of Bruce Wayne. Unfortunately, of course, in doing so it rather contradicts Dick Grayson’s entire Titans season 1 arc – which, in theory, this entire scene was supposed to resolve.
It’s reasonable to assume that Iain Glen won’t be returning as Bruce Wayne later on in the series. Leaving aside the matter of whether DC Universe could get Warner Bros. to let them feature Batman in a recurring role, the Dark Knight tends to take over any narrative he appears in too much. This is Titans, not Batman and the Titans, and the show has moved the team to San Francisco, the opposite side of the country to Gotham. That means this one disappointing glimpse of Bruce Wayne may be all viewers get.
Fear The Walking Dead: 4 Questions After Season 5, Episode 13